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These companies are cutting ties with the NRA

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Corporate America is taking on the country’s most powerful gun lobby group. In the wake of the mass shooting in a Florida high school last week, companies are dropping their partnerships with the National Rifle Association (NRA), which touts 5 million members.

According to a list compiled by ThinkProgress, an advocacy organization, there are at least 22 corporations, including car-rental companies and financial institutions that have been offering discounts to NRA members. As the #BoycottNRA movement picks up steam, some companies have cut ties.

Here is a list of companies: (We’ll update it as the story develops.)

First National Bank of Omaha: The largest privately held bank announced to stop issuing the NRA Visa Card due to “customer feedback” on Thursday.

-Hertz (HTZ): The major rental-car company says on Friday it has “notified the NRA that we are ending the NRA’s rental car discount program with Hertz”

Enterprise: Its three car rental brands— Enterprise, National and Alamo will end a discount program for NRA members.

Symantec (SYMC): The publicly-traded security software company said on Twitter it will no longer offer discounts to NRA members. LifeLock, the identity theft protection company acquired by Symantec last year has also stopped its discount program.

-Chubb (CB): The insurance giant says it will no longer offer the NRA insurance program for gun owners, a decision it has made three months ago.

-Best Western: According to a 2016 brochure from the NRA, the hotel chain has provided special deals to NRA members. But it clarified on Twitter repeatedly that the company “does not have an affiliation with and is not a corporate partner of the National Rifle Association.”

-Wyndham Hotels: The hotel chain, which previously offered a 10% discount to NRA members, said on Twitter it is no longer affiliated with the NRA.

Not everyone is pleased by the stand these companies are taking. Under First National Bank’s Twitter account, some people expressed disappointment on the decision and threats to stop using their service.

“There is always a financial risk of alienating part of your audience, but that’s a short-term a risk,” said Deb Gabor, CEO of SOL Marketing. She expects to see more companies join the movement. “Companies make calculations. They may lose some, but will end up building stronger relationships with customers.”

Besides losing customers, there could also be some legal risks in the movement, according to Larry Hutcher, a corporate lawyer at Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP.

“The NRA could argue for money damages if those companies terminate the long-term contract before the expiration date, because it’s the way that the NRA always be.” says Hutcher. But he doesn’t think the NRA will choose to sue the companies who no longer wanted to be associated with itself. The NRA hasn’t replied Yahoo Finance’s interview request.

Companies are more vocal this time

The car-rental giant Hertz cut its partnership with the NRA on Friday. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

This is not the first time that corporations have been scrutinized for their partnerships with the NRA. In 2016, a coalition of gay-rights and gun-control activists slammed FedEx (FDX), which offers up to 26% discounts to NRA members. FedEx ignored the call and the incentive program continues.

But this time, the backlash has been more intense as the mass shooting happened in a school and the social protests led by students has fueled people’s anger towards NRA, which is known for blocking gun-control measures through millions of dollars in political campaign contributions.

FedEx hasn’t replied to Yahoo Finance’s request for comment.

This ongoing trend of companies taking a stance on political and social issues has picked up since last year, when household brands like Under Armour, Papa Johns and NFL got involved in political discussions and spurred controversies. Social media has played a big role attracting attention.

Krystal Hu covers e-commerce for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

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Source: on 2018-02-23 16:56:15

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